Owen Electric Cooperative and Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives recently brought over 200 national, state and local economic development leaders together in Frankfort to discuss ways to increase business development in communities across Boone, Campbell, Carroll, Gallatin, Grant, Kenton, Owen, Pendleton, and Scott counties, and Kentucky.
“We wanted to get our local officials together with these internationally known leaders to think about new ways to bring jobs to our communities,” said Whitney Duvall, Owen Electric spokesperson. “Growth can dramatically improve quality of life, and that’s what our co-op is all about.”
Nationally acclaimed guest speakers included Didi Caldwell and Lorie Vincent, along with Jim Rasberry and Josh Nowell, who star on the hit HGTV show “Home Town.”
Caldwell, who founded Global Location Strategies, said rural Kentucky communities can take advantage of changes in technology, demographics and policy. Over the last two decades, Caldwell has led site selection projects in four countries.
Lorie Vincent, author of "Stand up Rural America-Get Yourself a Seat at the Big Table,” inspired the guests with stories of how economic development leaders can meet the unique needs of rural Kentucky. She talked about the importance of leadership, team building, and community engagement.
The HGTV team shared their passion and entertaining stories of the revitalization of their rural hometown of Laurel, Mississippi.
Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives are looking to build on their success in economic development in recent years. By working with state and local officials over the past five years, businesses have announced:
- 11,500 new jobs in areas served by Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives
- New facilities worth $5.3 billion for new and expanding businesses.
The cooperatives also unveiled their updated award-winning mobile app called PowerMap, and the crowd applauded the unveiling of the co-ops’ updated economic development website (www.DataIsPower.org at the meeting.
The Frankfort summit was coordinated by Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, which includes Owen Electric. The co-op is a member-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperative serving more than 62,000 homes and businesses in nine counties.